Stanley Cup Chaos at Caps Fan Fest

By Dan Johnson

Today was the exciting day that Lord Stanley’s Cup graced the hot sunny sky of Northern Virginia at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, VA.  Oh, and it was also Caps Fan Fest.

My brother and I arrived at 8:15 AM and parked as close to the top as we could (Level 7) of the Ballston Common Garage. The line quickly formed behind us. Around 8:45 AM, the garage was closed to incoming cars due to the large line of people that then stretched all the way down to the bottom.

We didn’t see any Caps personnel until after 9. At that point they handed out tickets to individuals and groups. We were told that as long as we kept the ticket we would get a picture with the cup.

We were luckily to be in the shade of the garage for the first couple of hours. The line didn’t move very quickly as it seemed like the staff was unprepared for the massive response. Once we got to the top of the garage, the line moved faster. You got 30 seconds at most and the photographer took one picture. The great thing was that the photo could be downloaded online for free and about 15 minutes after we had our picture taken we had a digital copy of it.

Many others weren’t so luckily as has been reported. I sincerely hope the Caps organization makes it right and have additional opportunities for something many fans have been waiting 43 years for.

The staff gave out ice cold water and Mountain Dew Ice once you got out of the garage.

I will give a shout out to the Red Rockers. They braved the heat and walked up and down Ballston Common Garage keeping fans’ spirits up.

What could have been better? More staff and better communication throughout the line to see the Stanley Cup. Lots of people were unaware lining up that they wouldn’t get a picture with the cup and left hot and upset. It might of served better to have the event at another venue that could handle larger crowds. It was extremely difficult to leave the garage with so many people standing in the middle.

All in all, it was a fabulous day to see and touch the Stanley Cup that so many legends have hoisted. It was great conversing with fans young and old and hearing how they became fans. The sense of community was definitely there. Let’s hope we can do this again soon!

Wanna Touch the Cup?…. Too Bad.

Caps Fan Fest is always a good time. We’ve been several years in a row, and there is usually something for everyone: bounce houses, a slapshot “contest,” free prize wheels for people to spin, and all the Dunkin’ Donuts you could ever want. (Nothing’s better than hockey… other than caffeinated hockey.) And today’s Fan Fest had a lot of those things, but it had something else: THE STANLEY CUP.

This is not news. If you didn’t know Lord Stanley’s Cup was going to be the main draw at this year’s Fest, then we’d like you to direct us to the rock you’ve been hiding under, because it’s probably nice and cool under there.

Fans started lining up as early as 4:30 am to get their picture taken with that glorious silver goblet… and it’s a good thing they did. People stood for hours in 98* heat, sweating rivers under the blazing sun for their 5 seconds of fame. But for many, that wasn’t good enough. Many of the people that had started lining up at 9:30am (which was still earlier than the event was supposed to begin) did not get their chance to embrace The Cup That Ovi Slept With.

Kettler officials started telling people the line was closed long before 1:15pm, which was the posted time they announced they would do so.  Hundreds of people didn’t get their chance to see their sweaty, glistening face reflected in glory.

And I’m not gonna lie: I was really, really, REALLY disappointed. I couldn’t help looking at all the other fans with a bitter hatred: their lives allowed them to come early enough. I had to pick up my stupid husband who chose an 11:40am flight into DCA. My kids weren’t gonna wait in line for hours in that heat, and I wasn’t gonna ask them to. It was one of the only times in my entire fandom that I resented the other fans, and inwardly questioned their authenticity. (“Those bandwagoners are ruining it for everyone. They certainly weren’t here last year…” were a few of my kinder thoughts.)

So I didn’t get my picture with the cup. I’m devastated. I kept glancing longingly in its direction, fantasizing about just making a run for it and tackling it in the hopes that someone would capture the whole thing on film before I got arrested.

And let’s not even get started on the prices they’re demanding at Carlson’s event in Bethesda. Bless that man for doing a great thing for charity, but ain’t nobody got the dough for that.

So here’s my plea to those in charge: Please. Please please PLEASE please give us another opportunity to hug that blessed vessel. Too many of us were there that left feeling like we’d been shafted. And I even have a cute baby (whose middle name happens to be Alexander after The Gr8 One) who was all ready to plop his chubby little buns in there for the photo opportunity of a lifetime. Instead, we had to settle for this one:

Caps Fan Fest: Some Good, Some Not So Good

Party on Friends!

Many of you arrived really early to get in line for a chance to have your photo taken with the Stanley Cup. Some folks arrived before the sun was up- ok some of you got there the night before!

Stanley Cup Viewing

The lines for the Cup viewing and photo op wrapped down through the garage at Kettler. Last we looked, the lines were down to the third level. Unfortunately, the Capitals were unable to accommodate everyone who showed up, leaving plenty of fans disappointed. The line was cut off at 3, two hours later then planned and fans were given until 4 to make it through rather then the original 2 pm close. Of you arrived after 9, chances are you didn’t have a chance to take a photo.

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Our gal Velvet Jackson didn’t wait in line – but she took a sneak photo for us!

It was HOT HOT HOT out there waiting in 90 plus degree weather with no shade on the roof top. The lines just seemed to go on and on and on. (Swipe for all the photos)

Security had their hands full, trying to keep the incoming cars from running people over and getting folks where they needed to be. They managed to do it with the same good cheer we saw at the Stanley Cup Parade.

Fans had some troubles in the terrible heat and long wait. There was free water available early on; however, it was only at the top of the line. Lots of folks were pretty exhausted and dehydrated by the time the made it through the garage and into Kettler. Some had to leave the line because they felt faint. We think Kettler didn’t fully anticipate the huge number of fans that were coming!!

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There were numerous complaints on Twitter about the lack of information or the wrong information that was provided by the staff brought in to work the event. Additionally, some fans who were in the late afternoon crowd were forced to take group photos with people they didn’t know– other than having spent several hours standing with them in line. In the end, the Capitals issued tickets to people who stayed in line but were unable to have their photo taken. Many of you did not get a ticket, but we suggest you click this link and fill out the information.  From the Caps:

Thank you for attending this year’s Capitals Fan Fest. We appreciate your patience as we moved through as many fans as possible to take a picture with the Stanley Cup. If you were in line and did not receive a photo please fill out the below and we will communicate future Stanley Cup photo opportunities to you. If you received a green or red ticket please be sure to reference the number.

Many of your were among the fortunate to have your photo taken. The Caps were overwhelmed uploading the photos and we have heard they are working as quickly as they can to load them. The link for photos can be found here.

Equipment Sale

And there was used equipment to be had. The lines for the equipment sale were so short that people were able to walk right in. There wasn’t much left following the development camp scrimmage, but some folks did walk out with hockey sticks with player names like Orpik, Chiasson, and Kempny.

Ice Skating

Also part of the day was the the $5  ice skating. We saw many families lacing up and jumping on the ice. A great way to cool down!

And let’s not forget Caps Development Camp and the prospects scrimmage. Click for more.

Outside there were few activists compared to previous years. Most likely because the Stanley Cup line took up half the deck!

The FiCP team was everywhere and we will have more personal stories about the day. Oh and check out our piece on the Development Camp scrimmage. For now, we share this photo of our Man Dan (Daniel Johnson) and his brother. Two who made it through the lines to the prize of the day.

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Photos by Brittney Marcum

Contribution photos from Daniel Johnson and Velvet Jackson

Capitals Development Camp Ends With Scrimmage And Hopes

Photos by Brittney Marcum Click Here

The Capitals concluded this year’s development camp with a high-paced game in which some players really stood out. Kettler Capitals Ice Plex was packed for the game, although some fans braved the heat for a chance with the Stanley Cup – more from our team later.

Scrimmage

The group was divided into Team Red and Team White. Out of play today were Lucas Johansen and Kristofers Bindulis.dsc_0496

The goalies were also split between the two teams with Mitchell Gibson, Peyton Jones, and Frank Marotte in the net for White while Ilya Samsanov and Logan Thompson protecting the net for Team Red.

Scrimmages are short bursts of play and the prospects have a limited time to show their skills to coaches as management. Watching from rafters were the new Caps coach Todd Reirden, Olie Kolzig (professional development coach and former goalie goalie mentor), Blaine Forsythe, Mitch Korn, as well as GM Brian MacLellen. Not that that added any pressure to the guys hoping to get to the show soon.

The game was full of lots (we mean LOTS) of hits between the guys. And some decent scoring too!!!

Goal makers today included:

Eric Florchuk (Red)

Mark Simpson (White)

Sebastian Walfridsson (White)

Shane Gerish (Red)

Chase Priskie (White)

Final score 4 – 2 Team White!

We had a few favorite standouts today and we will dive deeper into their play and potential in a few features later this summer. For now, let’s take a look at some of them:

Connor Hobbs is our number one player from camp and the scrimmage. He is everywhere on the ice, reading where the puck goes and getting there quickly. Everyone we spoke with today mentioned him. And there is something different in his play. A definite level of confidence we haven’t seen in previous camps.

Cooper Zech, a defenseman who at 5’9″ and 161 pounds was a real powerhouse. We liked him from day one and he confines to impress us in the scrimmage.watermarked24(2018-06-30-1552)

Shane Gerish is the real deal. He has fast feet, good hands control, great in the corners, and lots of control. Oh and he can score too! He had a goal and an assist today. We can’t wait to see him at training camp!watermarked28(2018-06-30-1552)

Jonas Siegenthaler had full control today. He has a new maturity in the ice. Today we saw a nice move forward and a backhand pass that looked effortless for him. Like Hobbs, he seems to have a new-found confidence in his performance.watermarked19(2018-06-30-1551)

Chase Priskie was outstanding- including that sweet goal late in the second period. There is something about his style we like. You know he is there, and yet he can skate under the radar and make a play like he did today. He is one to keep an eye on.

And we just have to mention Patrick Giles. He was one of the three youngest players at camp this year. He is a local guy and his family and fellow teammates came out today to watch him. It was fun seeing their excitement for their buddy! Giles wasn’t drafted but he was invited to camp. He will be off to Boston College and we hope we get to see him back at camp again.

We will cover more of the players, especially those heading to Hershey and those drafted by the Capitals. It can take a while for the dream to come true, but this crew has a lot of potential.

Next up for the Caps? Capitals Training Camp in September.

Caps Polls: Re-signing the Boys

The summer is a very interesting time for the NHL. Players are on the move, discussing contracts and searching for other options and career-boosting opportunities. With the Caps winning their first Stanley Cup, they intend on keeping the core guys together as any team would. Last week, I ran a poll on Twitter asking the fans who they think the Caps will re-sign and let go.

Of the 47 voters, 62% of them said they would re-sign everyone. However, the Caps let go of notable veterans like Brooks Orpik and Jay Beagle. Beagle has been such a huge contribution to the team’s success throughout the years and will forever be remembered as an original member of the Caps family. He is rumored to sign with the Vancouver Canucks by July 1st when the free agent market opens up. Orpik has also been a huge part of the team’s success on and off the ice. His leadership qualities helped mold players like Christian Djoos and Dmitry Orlov into well-poised players.

Devante Smith-Pelly signed a new contract with the Caps for one year worth $1 million. He stated he wanted to have a chance at defending the Stanley Cup before searching for other options. He was a huge turnout in the playoffs, playing that gritty bottom six style the Caps lacked for years.

Another big signing was that of John Carlson and Michal Kempny, solidifying the top four defensemen for the next few years. Kempny was a huge surprise pickup at the trade deadline last year. He proved to be a perfect fit for Carlson’s left side, a defensive defenseman who isn’t afraid to shoot the puck on net. He played a key role in the run’s success with his overall play.

Personally, I don’t expect the Caps to look into the free agent market too much. They may use this time around to give the veteran guys from Hershey or the younger potential looks at the lineup to see if something works and clicks. I could see Madison Bowey and Travis Boyd making a good run at securing roster spots. I will be running weekly fan polls this off-season via my Twitter @Jurky88 and will recap and share the results. Stay blessed and keep celebrating!

Caps Dev Camp – Goalies and Defense Day

Friday was day four of Caps Development Camp. The morning focus was on the defense, including goalie drills.

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There were a few D-men who caught our attention and we think will be worth watching in the coming month and years. The players worked on some angle shots, some pass and shoot drills, and puck control exercises. Continue reading “Caps Dev Camp – Goalies and Defense Day”

The Washington Capitals Have a New Coach

We have finally gotten over the surprise resignation of Coach Barry Trotz and we are excited about the next phase in Caps history with newly named coach Todd Reirden. The Capitals announced on Friday afternoon that they have inked a new contract with Reirden to promote him to head coach.

Continue reading “The Washington Capitals Have a New Coach”

Hey Caps Fans, Ready to Celebrate Again??

The Capitals WON THE STANLEY CUP and we haven’t stopped celebrating yet!!

We get to party on down again on Saturday, 30 June at Kettler Ice Plex in Ballston/Arlington Va. Fan Fest Is Back. Click here for our helper on parking or taking the metro to Ballston.

And it is the last day of Caps Development Camp and their final scrimmage. We love this last bit with the prospects as we can finally see who is ready to push ahead for Hershey or Washington. The game begins at 10 am on the Caps Ice Rink. Get there early for a spot to sit in the bleachers or around the glass.

And then there is all the excitement of Fan Fest. Here is the general run down on what happens when:

Key Events

Photo Op with Lord Stanley. The line officially opens at 10 am but we have heard people plan to arrive really really early to secure their spot. Think Parade and the Rally Area!!!

Caps Equipment Sale also starts at 10. Get in line over near the entry doors to the Arlington Rink or near the garage elevators. Stuff goes fast and there is no telling what might be available. Prices run from low 20s for basic gear to 100s for sticks.A Public Skate has been added this year from 10 to 2. Cost is super reasonable and a good day to try out some skates if you haven’t yet. Only $5 with skates!!Typically the Caps have loads of things to do on the roof with great music playing. Frequently the prospects can be found running around. We aren’t sure that will hold true for this year or not.

The Rooftop is clear and ready to go! They are setting up tables for the Cup lines- likely to be at the entrance with the line outside. Bring water and wear good shoes!!

So come on out and hangout with a bunch of friends who aren’t ready to quit celebrating! Take a few pictures! Watch the young dudes play! It’s a great way to spend a sunny Saturday!!!

Michal Kempny Details On New Capitals Contract

Michal Kempny came to the Capitals in February 2018 and we were pretty darn excited with the acquisition!! We are even more excited about him signing a new contract for FOUR years. The Washington Capitals confirmed the Thursday rumors Friday morning.

Kempny was great during the playoffs and showed that he has something to contribute to this team. MacLellan said signing him was a priority and Kempny said he wanted to stay. And is there any doubt that John Carlson wants him back??

When the Caps talk about tenacity, they are talking about Kempny. He’s the guy that crashed into the boards during warm ups at game three, saw the doc, got cleaned up, and came back to play. He had a terrific goal in the game four, as well as an assist in games one and two.

Kempny is really a great all around D man. He does a lot of the little things really well and knows how to move the puck quickly. The way he sees the ice is also really something on it’s own too. When he played with the Blackhawks he was considered one of the top four players. The Caps gave him a chance and he came though!

The Caps will pay the Czech Republic player an average of $2.5 million to keep playing with Carly. We think this is the perfect investment for the team!

Congrats Michal!!